Living in Peace and Wisdom on our Planet

  My Profile  Log In   Register Free Now   
Living in Peace and Wisdom on our Planet Planet Thoughts Advanced       Click to see one of our videos, chosen at random from the database, along with its PlanetThought
 Try a video
Home   About   Books&Media   Resources   Contact  
   News   Quote   Review   Story   Tip   All   Blogs   News   Quotes   Reviews   Stories   Tips
Get Email or Web Quotes
or use our RSS feeds:
New Feed:  Fossil Fuel
 Full  Blog  News
Read & Comment:
A Solar Community In Isr...
'Let's You And Him Fight...
Paul Krugman's Errors An...
Why Climate Change Is An...

Most recent comments:
From Farm To Fork
A Simple List: Things We...
Can the affluent rest at...

Bookmark the site
Contribute $
Easy link from your site
Visit Second Life
Visit SU Blog

Portugese wave power; click for larger imageBy Susan Kraemer

Five years ago, when 17% of Portugal's energy came from renewable energy – about like California now – the government made a bold decision to aim for 45% during the next five years – by 2010.

Sounds impossible, right? Yet, according to Elizabeth Rosenthal at the NYT, they will have achieved their goal by the end of this year.

"You cannot imagine the pressure we suffered that first year," said Manuel Pinho, Portugal's minister of economy and innovation from 2005 until last year, who largely masterminded the transition, adding, "Politicians must take tough decisions." 

   >> Interested in solar power? See if group discounts are available in your city
The new power plants, mostly wind and hydro, will add a small percentage to ratepayers bills (about 5% more than the US average electricity rate rises of around 6% a year) but within a decade that initial investment expense should be gone, and ongoing rates will be much lower, due to the fuel-free nature of renewable energy. As a result the nation's electricity rates should drop within ten to fifteen years and then remain low.

Like China, the Portuguese government restructured and privatized former state energy utilities to create a grid better suited to renewable power sources.  Like the rest of Europe, under Europe's cap and trade system the nation is subject to a price on carbon, making it cheaper to build clean energy than dirty energy. In 1990, the base year for the Kyoto accord that Europe signed, Portugal had a simple agrarian economy.

Now, along with Scotland, Portugal has shot to leadership in enabling the development of wave energy.  It set a feed-in tariff for wave energy that will pay 260 euros per megawatt-hour for the first 20 MW installed. The government has a very practical approach to radical innovation.  They say, "Let's do it: then we'll see.This a problem; this is not", says WaveRoller CEO John Liljelund. Portugal nurtured the first ocean power testing centers near Peniche, off the coast in Europe for wave and tidal energy.

Since the very capital-intensive first prototypes of wave and tidal power are still largely at the R&D stage, ocean power has yet to bring much power to the grid. But a thriving wind industry, created from scratch in the formerly agrarian society, is not only supplying the nation, along with hydro power, but now exporting wind farms to less developed nations such as the USA.

Energias de Portugal, the country's largest energy company, owns wind farms in Iowa and Texas, through its American subsidiary, Horizon Wind Energy.

Portugal's next goal is 60% by 2020. They should find that easy. When you consider the extraordinary feat of adding 28% in only 5 years to get to 45%, adding another 15% more over 10 years looks like a walk in the park.

Image: An Oyster prototype
Susan Kraemer@Twitter

See original news item:, Aug-11-2010  
Related reading:
  International Olympic Committee And Dow Chemical... (Jan-27-2011)
  Voyage Around The Globe With World's Largest Sol... (Oct-3-2010)
  Solar Funnel (Sep-23-2010)
  President Obama Awards $2 Billion For Solar Power (Jul-8-2010)
  Cape Wind Project OKd, But Are Giant Gravel Batt... (May-2-2010)
  Total Surface Area Required To Fuel The World Wi... (Jan-30-2010)
  Foreign Windpower Iberdrola Taps Saudi Arabia Of... (Dec-31-2009)
  The New NIMBY-Defeating Wind Turbine (Dec-6-2009)
  100% Wind-Powered Island Off Maine Financed Usin... (Nov-28-2009)
  Top 10 Solar Technologies to Watch Out For (Oct-18-2009)

Click one tag to see readings related specifically to that tag; click "Tags" to see all related readings
^ top
Add a comment    
  Follow the comments made here? 
  (Please log in or register free to follow comments)
Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Aug-27-2010)   Web site
Yeah, the politicians (99% of them) don't know, and don't care. It is beyond them to see the real implications of this for life on this planet, they are busy getting re-elected.

You are probably right about California being able to get its power (at least 45%) from waves... but also from wind and solar. I know our use of energy per person is far higher in the USA than almost anywhere else. We need to get going and build the equipment and put it in place, and expand the grid. It can be done... but the time to start is today (or if possible, 40 years ago).
Comment by: City Worker (Aug-25-2010)   

By the way, regarding getting government to move on alternative energy…. or not being able to get government to move….. By chance, yesterday, I caught a couple of minutes of a debate on NY1 of Republican candidates for a US Senate seat. The question posed to them was whether global warming was caused by human activity. I was very surprised to hear that none of the three candidates said “yes.” One said he didn’t know, one said “no” and one said it was only partially caused by human activity.
Comment by: City Worker (Aug-25-2010)   

On a quick look-see, it seems like California could probably also easily get 45% of its electricity from renewable energy because of their access to wave energy like Portugal. The shapes of the two land areas look pretty similar. The relative amount of coastline along an ocean and the number of people per square mile are pretty similar.

^ top 
About contributor Member: TheTeam (PlanetThoughts Team) TheTeam (PlanetThoughts Team)

Member: TheTeam (PlanetThoughts Team) The volunteers of are happy to give you their best selection of news, opinion, reviews, stories, quotes, tips, and more. We hope you enjoy the reading... and thinking. Thanks!

Love your Planet... Know your Planet.

Visit Green Wave Email Marketing
Email Marketing for You and Your Planet

We won a Gotham Green Award for 2010, on Earth Day! Thank you Gotham Networking for this award.

See the attractive event brochure.

Recommended Sites

  Member of:
GOtham Green networking
Green Collar Economy
New York Academy of Sciences
Shades of Green Network

     Members/Affiliates *

Approaching the Limits
    to Growth
Environmental News Network
Heroin and Cornflakes

* Members of PlanetThoughts      
  communities on SU or MBL,      
  and blog article affiliates      

  Other Favorite Blogs
21st Century Citizen
Center for Bio. Diversity
Easy Ways to Go Green
Good Bags
Opposing Views

Valid my RSS feeds

We Do Follow

  Volunteer      Terms of Use      Privacy Policy  

Copyright © 2022 All Rights Reserved.
Except for blog items by David Alexander: Some Rights Reserved.